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UAAP S85 Final Four kicks off today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum

SECOND-SEEDED UP will take on No. 3 NU. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ RUSSELL PALMA

Games On Wednesday(Smart Araneta Coliseum)Women’s Finals Game 111 a.m. — NU vs DLSUMen’s Final Four2 p.m. — UP vs NU6 p.m. — ADMU vs AdU

AND then there were four.

Reigning champion University of the Philippines (UP), Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), National University (NU) and Adamson University (AdU) — after surviving a wild elimination round — figure in an explosive slugfest as the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament unwraps the highly-anticipated Final Four at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today (Dec.7).

Hostilities fire off at 2 p.m. starting with the title defense of second-seeded UP against No. 3 NU in the battle of well-rested squads after qualifying to the semifinals as early as last week.

At 6 p.m., top-ranked and former three-time champion Ateneo looks to shore up its redemption tour albeit against a high-morale Adamson side coming off a big knockout win against fancied De La Salle to bag the last Final Four ticket.

Ateneo and UP sport twice-to-beat incentives as the top seeds with a quick win in just one game setting the stage for their finals rematch after an iconic battle in Season 84 last summer. But NU and Adamson are out to spoil that party.

The Bulldogs had shown that capability in the first round after handing UP’s first loss by then while the Soaring Falcons are beaming with confidence and momentum after their close duel against the Blue Eagles followed by a spirited 80-76 do-or-die win versus the Green Archers to barge into the semis.

“We haven’t beaten Ateneo this season. We know how tough they are but nothing is impossible in this world. We have that mentality that you know, nothing is impossible,” said coach Nash Racela as Adamson likewise foiled an Ateneo-De La Salle semis showdown.

Prior to the men’s Final Four, it’s dynasty versus destiny as six-time reigning champion NU and De La Salle open their best-of-three finals duel for the women’s basketball crown at 11 a.m.

“It’s an opportunity for us to really see where our program is. It’s an opportunity to make history,” said mentor Cholo Villanueva after De La Salle’s 74-69 win over University of Santo Tomas in the do-or-die semis to arrange a date with NU.

De La Salle was the last team to beat NU in the UAAP finals in 2013 before the latter’s long reign. This season, the Lady Archers were also the culprit in ending the Lady Bulldogs’ 108-game win streak in almost a decade. — John Bryan Ulanday

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